The Norris Group Real Estate News Roundup 8/17/10

Today’s News Synopsis:

Statistics from MDA DataQuick show 18,946 new and resale homes were sold in Southern California in July. Frank Nothaft of Freddie Mac announced that refinancing activity has accounted for over 80% of conventional loan activity. National housing starts increased by 7.1 percent last month, according to the NAHB. The MBA expressed concerns that recent policy changes restricting seller concessions went too far and may damage the industry.

In The News:

DQNews “Southern California Home Sales and Median Price Dip in July” (8-17-10)

“A total of 18,946 new and resale homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in July. That was down 20.6 percent from 23,871 in June, and down 21.4 percent from 24,104 for July 2009, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.”

NAHB “Housing Starts Rise 1.7 Percent in July” (8-17-10)

“Nationwide housing starts inched up 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units in July from a downwardly revised figure in the previous month, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures released today. The gain occurred entirely on the multifamily side, with single-family housing production falling 4.2 percent to 432,000 units.”

Housing Wire“MBA Prefers FHA Seller Concessions Lowered to 4%” (8-17-10)

“In a letter to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the MBA said its members urge the federal agency ‘to ensure policies do not reach too far and needlessly discourage home buying at a time when the housing market is still fragile.’ Last month, HUD announced possible policy changes within the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) aimed at boosting capital reserves. The changes include reducing the limit on seller concessions to 3% from 6%; using a FICO credit score of 500 as a minimum for consideration in FHA programs; and lowering the maximum loan-to-value to 90% for all borrowers with credit scores less than 580.”

Housing Wire“Fannie Mae Sees Housing Activity Flat in 2H” (8-17-10)

“The GSE also said continued uncertainty and a slower-than-normal recovery points to overall GDP growth of 2.5% for the rest of the year. In July, analysts at Fannie Mae’s economics and mortgage market analysis group projected growth of 2.8%, which was down from a June estimate of 3.2%. The agency expects the low, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to boost refinance activity but not result in any sort of refinance boom. The current average rate of 4.5% is expected to remain throughout 2010.”

Housing Wire“John Burns: GSE Renting Options Will Increase Demand and Limit Supply” (8-17-10)

“The government should create an apartment real estate investment trust (REIT) to rent out foreclosed properties — a method that would avoid flooding the housing market with foreclosed properties, a real estate consultant said as President Obama’s ‘Future of Housing Finance Conference’ kicked off Tuesday. John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said the government-created REIT would be self-sustaining via rental fees. The government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, would hire outside property-management firms to manage the rental properties, Burns said.”

Housing Wire“Refinancing Accounts for 80% of Loan Activity over Last 2 Months: Nothaft” (8-17-10)

“Over the last two months, refinancing activity has accounted for more than 80% of all conventional loan activity, said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. In a Featured Perspectives report out Monday, Nothaft said Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have purchased 1.4m refinance loans, including nearly 200,000 loans that have gone through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).”

Housing Wire“Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Bearish Sentiment Eases” (8-17-10)

“BofAML, a unit of Bank of America, said the bearish sentiment for the global economic outlook and corporate earnings has eased. The most recent data show 5% of survey respondents expect the global economy will improve in the next year. In July, 12% percent of respondents predicted the world economy would deteriorate, BofAML said. But recession fears seem to have subsided, as 78% of fund managers surveyed last week don’t expect a double-dip recession. Still, 73% continue to see ‘below-trend growth and inflation.'”

Housing Wire“TransUnion: Housing Begins to Stabilize as Delinquent Loans Fall in Q210” (8-17-10)

“National mortgage loan delinquency rates for loans delinquent 60 days or more fell for the second quarter in a row to 6.67%, according to TransUnion’s quarterly trend analysis released Tuesday; a sign the housing sector is beginning to stabilize. The 1.48% drop in Q210 follows an 18.52% drop in Q110 for loans delinquent 60 days or more. Delinquent loans accounted for 6.77% of the all loans in Q110. The current delinquency rate is still up 14.8% from the same quarter last year when the rate was 5.81%.”

Housing Wire“Private Sector Modifications Increase 10% in June” (8-17-10)

“The housing industry conducted 123,000 permanent modifications through private programs in June, a 10% increase from the 112,000 done in May, according to Hope Now, a private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, insurers and nonprofit counselors.”

Housing Wire“Bankrate: Loan Closing Costs Jump 36.6% Year-Over-Year” (8-17-10)

“The average origination and third-party fees on a $200,000 mortgage increased 36.6% to $3,741 from last year’s average of $2,739, according to Bankrate’s annual mortgage fee survey. Lender origination fees increased to $1,463, or 22.8%, in 2010 from $1,192 in 2009, while the average total third-party fees rose 47.2%, to $2,277 from the year-ago average of $1,547.”

Housing Wire“Homebuyer Demand All But a ‘Standstill’: Altos Research” (8-17-10)

“The average national house price was $474,946 in July, according to the Altos 10-city composite price index. The index fell ‘significantly’ from its high in the summer of last year, when buyers were taking advantage of the homebuyer tax credit. It has declined for the past 11 months. The tax credit expired in April.”

Bloomberg “Home Depot Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates as Sales Increase” (8-17-10)

“Net income increased 6.8 percent to $1.19 billion, or 72 cents a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 1, from $1.12 billion, or 66 cents, a year earlier, Atlanta-based Home Depot said today in a statement. Analysts projected 71 cents, the average of 23 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.”

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